Kear looking to make his mark

No-one is looking forward to the Crusaders v Leeds Rhinos match more than rising young Welsh star Elliot Kear.

Kear made his Crusaders debut against the Rhinos last August and made an immediate impression on everyone watching, being nominated as the team’s Player of the Match by his colleagues and national media alike.

The Rhinos went on to win the 2009 engage Super League Grand Final and the Crusaders are preparing to meet them in the opening game of the 2010 season on Friday 29 January at The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham (kick-off 8pm), and Kear would love to be part of it and run out in front of a full house.

“We’ve been out walking in Wrexham town centre a few times now,” said Kear. “And people have said that they’d heard of us starting up at The Racecourse. It seems like that there’s a massive interest in Wrexham for rugby league, I hear that a lot of tickets have been sold already for the Leeds game and we’re all looking forward to it.”

The 21 year old has moved to Wrexham to try to claim a regular place in the Crusaders side. He knows that will be up against the more experienced Nick Youngquest for a starting place in his full-back position but he is determined to give it his all.

“I’ve learned so much since I became a full-time first team squad member at the start of this season,” he said. “Brian Noble’s not long arrived of course but I know I’ve been improving thanks to Jon Sharp’s coaching before that. Training’s been good and everyone’s been gelling really well, I just want to stick to it and carry on improving my game so I can challenge for a regular place in the side.”

Kear played in all the remaining Crusaders games last year and went on to win his first full International cap when he started as full back against England in October. He then went on to score a try in all three games for Wales in their European Cup campaign and was voted man of the match in Wales‘ 28-16 victory over Scotland in the Final that gave Wales the trophy for the first time for 14 years.

Iestyn Harris was the coach who led Wales to the title and Kear is pleased that Harris is now one of his mentors at the Crusaders.

“The training has been very similar to when I was in the Wales camp last autumn,” Kear adds. “Some of the moves and the set up are very similar here at Crusaders to how we trained with Wales so it’s been quite easy to adapt. Iestyn has been helping me out a lot and that’s been good for me.

“I’m settling into Wrexham nicely. At the moment I’m lodging with the club’s welfare officer. He’s been putting me up for a couple of weeks while I look for a place of my own. It’s not far from the ground so it’s nice and easy for me.

“All round, the facilities up here are outstanding and that’s a real positive in itself. They’re much better than we ever had down in Bridgend and I’d say they’re probably one of the top training facilities in Super League. Obviously it’s been set up for the football before we came along and they’re so good, they must be Premier League standard. The stadium looks nice too, we’ve not trained there yet because of the snow but it looks like it’ll be a great occasion there when he face Leeds Rhinos in front of a full house there on Friday January 29th.”

Tickets for Crusaders v Leeds Rhinos on Friday 29 January (kick-off 8pm), priced from just £7 for juniors and £15 for adults, can be purchased through the club’s ticket office on 01978 262129, by calling into the Wrexham FC club shop or by going to www.crusadersrfl.com.

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